Since the turn of the millennium, the tech industry has navigated a few downturns - the post-2000 Internet bust, the 2008 financial crisis - including today’s challenging times of a market slowdown and a banking crisis. Through it all, our team has been powered by two beliefs: that great companies are created in tough times and that great venture capital firms are guided by a set of values and operating principles that are independent of market conditions.
We call our approach the Mayfield Way and it has guided the last decade of our success as early stage investors, during which we:
Raised $2.6 billion in seven U.S. funds (four Early funds and three Select funds)
Partnered with over 90 new teams
Helped our companies raise over $12 billion in close to 300 follow-on financings
Shepherded 72 companies to successful exits including 13 IPOs and 59 acquisitions
Today, we are excited to share that we have raised $955 million across two new early stage venture capital funds: Mayfield XVII ($580 million) and Mayfield Select III ($375 million) aka Mayfield Spring. Both funds became oversubscribed in a couple of weeks. With these new venture funds we have $3 billion in assets under management to champion entrepreneurs at the inception and early stages of company formation.
We want to thank our limited partners for committing to our funds in a couple of weeks in spite of the challenging environment. We are grateful to be rewarded for delivering top-tier returns to them consistently and at the same time being completely aligned by following a budget-based management fees model. We also want to express our gratitude to our founders, whose fortitude in creating iconic companies helped us build a track record to swiftly raise capital.
Investment Stage: Inception, early customer adoption (Seed, Series A)
Investment Stage: Follow-on rounds of breakout portfolio companies + new companies (primarily Series B) from outside our portfolio
Spring is a word rich with multiple meanings - a season of blossoming, a resilient device, and a motion of leaping forward - a stage just beyond inception as companies assemble a core team, demonstrate their painkiller product & value proposition, and show early signs of product and story market fit. The word connotes our hope for the companies of Select III/Mayfield Spring.
We know that early stage investing is hard and not for everyone.
Our experience has been powered by an approach to early stage investing that we call the Mayfield Way:
The Mayfield Way is practiced by our entire team, whose contribution has been critical to our success, including raising these new funds.
Every investing partner has been a founder and walked in the shoes of the founders we serve. We have all navigated through prior downturns since 2000. As a result, People First is not just a motto for us. We are a loyal, empathetic partner from inception to iconic as the first in and last out investor who is always striving to watch the founder's back and act as their safety net. Our founders show their appreciation for us standing by them by returning to work with us again and again and referring other entrepreneurs to us.
We invest in and champion entrepreneurs building iconic companies
To build a lasting top-tier early stage venture firm, focused on people and inspired by continuous learning
It took unwavering focus to stick to our roots in early stage investing during the bull market of the last decade. Mega funds were being raised and invested at a breakneck pace (even virtually during Covid) in companies with stratospheric valuations. But we followed our own North Star and remained dedicated to partnering with inception and early stage founders at a measured pace.
Nurturing early stage companies is a craft that we have honed at Mayfield. We commit funds in new investments every 3.5-4 years and invest in approximately 8 companies per year. We are roll-up-our-sleeves board members who help on leadership, strategy, product iteration, go-to-market, and follow-on financings. Our founders have access to anyone on our team, not just their board members. Our portfolio services team provides critical support in recruitment, accelerating product-market fit for customer adoption and amplifying narratives for story-market fit. In our model, every company counts and our founders become members of a vibrant and generous community of fellow founders.
Our investors are domain experts who focus on specific practice areas, but our culture is collaborative and one of continuous learning. Our core team has worked together for the better part of a decade. We have a unique collective intelligence approach, whereby at least two investing partners collaborate on the due diligence to thoroughly evaluate a potential investment. This leverages complementary skills and creates a natural team which can partner on advising the company later if it becomes a portfolio investment. Once the two investing partners build conviction, they make a recommendation to the entire investment team which makes a final decision on new investments.
This collective wisdom approach was extremely important as we guided founders through scenario planning during Covid and new cash management strategies after the recent troubles of regional banks.
We pursue a themes-based investment approach and bring both a prepared and open mind to investing. This allows us to identify companies that are both able to leverage current trends and be ready for future trends as they emerge. Some themes we have been investing in over the past few years include human-centered AI, the data economy, the developer-first era, the renaissance of semiconductors, cybersecurity, deeptech, Web3, and human and planetary health.
We believe that with privilege comes responsibility. We have a long tradition of philanthropy through which we support organizations that address DEI, health, hunger and education. In 2020, we expanded this work to pioneer a conversation around Conscious Capital, to lead with empathy and build business for a better world rather than for business as usual. We pledged 1% of our management fee and carry every year, which can amount to millions of dollars, to support this effort. We launched an Access for All program, under which we affiliated with leading community organizations to address systemic barriers to opportunity.
Photo by Marla Aufmuth